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Posted By YouMeMine on 03/10/2021

How to Pay for Egg Donor IVF: Remain Open to Being Open

How to Pay for Egg Donor IVF: Remain Open to Being Open

By Lisa Chiya, Founder and President of the Genesis Group

Third party reproduction options such as egg donor IVF are expensive. The costs associated with egg donor IVF, surrogacy, and other family building options can break the bank for lots of folks.

Unfortunately, these costs may even be perceived as a nonstarter, for some people. Making the situation even more challenging is the fact that agencies and clinics are typically cash pay.

It may seem counter intuitive to begin an empowerment piece with this information, but the reality is – if you need medical support to build your family, you’re going to be making a significant financial commitment. Being familiar with the expected costs will help you plan your journey.

I’m going to give you some ideas for funding your journey, below. I’m also going to give you tactile information about costs you can expect. But first, let me share a secret with you:  

When potential intended parents come to my agency for the first time, I can often tell which ones will be successful, based on their personality. It’s not that I’m psychic, I’m so not! But the people who seem to be best at rolling with the punches tend to be the ones who often go home with a baby in arms. That’s because they have the grit to persevere. And that’s difficult to do, since nothing is certain in ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology). 

Hormones, emotions, stress, the time passing, all of this can make you exhausted and financially drained. It also stresses relationships. All of this together can make you give up. But the ones who keep going and trying new options, be they embryo adoption, surrogacy, egg donation, they’re the ones who will stick with it and figure it out. They’re the ones most likely to be successful.

If I could give you one piece of advice before you start your journey it would be this: Remain Open to Being Open.

Once you close off and say “never” to a family building strategy, be it egg donation, sperm donation, foster care, or whatever, then you close yourself off to the possibilities, and limit your chances for success.

This pertains to finances, too. I’ve seen the law of attraction work for intended parents many, many times. You may not know how you’re going to finance your journey, but things can come together for you, if you remain open.

Now, for the nuts and bolts on expected costs for egg donation.

Agency vs. Independent Journey. If you’re looking at using an egg donor, you can work with an agency who will facilitate the process from A - Z. Agency fees in the U.S. typically range from $4,000 - $8,000.

Always look for an agency that provides 100% rematch fees. If an egg donor doesn’t pass medical screening for any reason you want your agency to find another egg donor at no additional agency fee. 

You can also do an independent journey, which will save you the agency fee. This may save you money, especially if you’re working with a known / directed egg donor.

However, working with an agency can help you avoid expensive pitfalls and mistakes. These can include not using the right attorney, or not getting two attorneys – one for you and one for your door.

Another thing an agency does really well is prescreen donors. This can save you money and valuable   time , and not to mention saving you and your donor the costs of emotional upheaval.

Agencies work with women who are aged 21 – 30. If you do an independent journey, you may work with someone who is older. Keep in mind that your success rates may go down if you do. You may also need multiple tries, increasing costs.

Egg Donor Compensation. The egg donor’s compensation can range from $6,000 – $25,000+. I believe industry wide the average compensation is around 10,000. The donor fee is typically determined by the donor. Some donors are open to negotiating their fee, but before doing so I recommend writing a heartfelt letter about your financial situation. Most donors are altruistic in nature and will more likely negotiate their fee, if you they feel a sense of connection.

Location Matters. You can minimize the costs associated with egg donor fees by finding donors who are local to you. This significantly reduces  the cost of their travel, meals, hotel stay and monitoring costs during stimulation, which can run $400 - $800 for each appointment.

My advice is to get preliminary prescreening tests done on your own instead of at the clinic, since they charge more. These include hormonal blood tests, sonograms, and a hysterosalpingogram.   

It’s up to you if you are more comfortable using a previous egg donor or a first timer. A previous donor may have less clinic expenses because there will be existing tests. This can potentially cut costs down. However, a previous donor often asks for higher compensation, making these potential savings a wash.

Additionally, expect to cover the psychological screening costs which are typically around $500, and genetic counseling, typically around $250 - $300.

Work with Knowledgeable Attorneys. You will need two attorneys – a drafting attorney for yourself and a reviewing attorney for your donor. Separate representation assures that your donor has informed consent. The drafting attorney fee is usually $1,000. The reviewing attorney fee is averages around $600.

If you go the Independent route make sure you work with third party reproduction attorneys, or you may wind up paying hourly rates for contracts that aren’t iron clad.

You can find representation by state through the Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproduction Attorneys. You can also reach out to third party reproduction agencies for recommendations, even if you’re not working with them. Many people in this industry have a desire to help. All you need to do is ask.

While rare, catastrophes can happen to your donor during cycling or pregnancy. If you are pursuing the independent route, make sure to also buy egg donor insurance.

So, how do you go about financing this process?

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution.

In some instances, you may be able to negotiate fees with your agency, clinic, attorney, or pharmacy. Let them know about your hardships. Also let them know if you are a veteran, active military, first responder, or teacher. Many family building entities provide discounts for certain groups.

Also think about the different types of cycles: 

Traditional cycle (fresh cycle) – This type of cycle means you get all of the eggs that are retrieved, which means a higher probability of success. The bad news is, this is the most expensive type of cycle.

Shared cycle (fresh or frozen) – This is a great way to lessen costs. You get a portion of the donor’s eggs, and you’re splitting the cost with other intended parents. However, you get a smaller number of eggs, which lowers your probability of success. Eggs are frozen in batches. IVF programs determine how many eggs will be in each batch. Always ask them how they allocate eggs and see if there is any wiggle room in negotiating how many you get.

Egg bank – If you work with an egg bank, you will save lots of time, since the eggs have already been retrieved and are already to go. This reduces a percentage of the costs. It also reduces the need for a donor to travel, a huge plus, during COVID-19 restrictions and afterwards. 

Embryo Donation- Is a very cost-effective way to build your family. An increasing number of Intended parents that are done building their family are open to donating their excess embryos.  Unfortunately, there is no central embryo donation center, but asking your clinic, agencies or reaching out to PVED ( Parents Via Egg Donation) would be a great place to start. 

Some people choose to utilize savings or liquidate assets. You may not have these options or wish to use them. Others ask family members for no- or low-interest loans.  

If none of these options appeal to you, these routes may be a better fit:

Get a loan

Finance companies that offer medical loans abound, but keep their interest rates in mind when you apply. Based on your credit rating, interest can range from under 3% to a whopping 40%.

Resolve has a list of infertility financing companies, IVF clinics that offer financing, and medication discount programs you can check out here.

Some finance companies recommended by Lisa Chiya include:


Apply for a grant

Nonprofits that offer family building grants help democratize the costs of IVF and third party reproduction. You will have to prove financial need, based upon their criteria. There may be other requirements too, such as state of residence. Do a deep dive to look for hyperlocal charities and giving entities where you live or work. Some you may wish to consider include:

Crowd funding

Going public to obtain funding may feel empowering for some, but embarrassing for others. While not for everyone, crowd funding is a commonly used tool that can help you raise money for your family building dreams.

Some platforms, such as Lift Rocket, have a community fund that doubles every dollar you raise.

Keep in mind that crowd funding sites often charge a fee for funding through their site, so read the small print before you sign on.

Get creative

Thinking outside the box may yield surprising results for you.

One of YouMeMine’s writers incorporated herself and her husband as a small business, since neither one had adequate health insurance at work. This made them eligible for a state-run insurance plan that covered IVF, and the medications needed for cycling.

Put your mind to it. You may be able to come up with a unique plan to support your family building dreams.

Lisa Chiya is President and Founder of The Genesis Group. She oversees the egg donor, surrogacy, frozen egg bank, and specialized directed egg donor search program.  

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